With retirement age being pushed back and people living longer, it was inevitable that we would end up with an ageing workforce.

What we need to consider, is the fact that people of a certain age may need to take time out through ill health or due to caring responsibilities and they are finding returning to work challenging, often so much so that many don’t manage it.

So how (and why) should we support the ageing workforce?

I will start with the why and in my experience, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Experience

An older employee will have a wide range of experience, some of which can not be taught easily. Ok, so they may not be the most technically savvy (although this is certainly not always the case), but life and work experiences will allow them to deal with situations and tasks that are thrown at them.

Attitude 

Generally speaking, the older generation has a more responsible attitude, a strong work ethic and often take less time off.  This is not always true or indeed, the opposite is not always true of younger employees, but it is a consideration nonetheless.

Increased skills base

Having a varied workforce when it comes to age, hugely increases your skills base, enabling you to get the best of both worlds.

With all of the above taken into consideration, we can also utilise our more mature employees to play a major role in training the next generation of workers.

One of the main barriers to recruiting an older person, is the impending retirement age. But consider this – what guarantees do you have that a younger person isn’t going to move anyway, particularly early on in their career?  In fact, if you recruit an older person surely they are far more likely to stay through to retirement age considering the barriers to finding suitable work in the first place.

Which brings me to the how. Quite simply just look at their age positively – consider their experience, attitude and loyalty when that CV comes across your desk and how valuable a diverse workforce could be to your business.